Tomorrow is my birthday.

Today I was in a meeting with a roomful of people with from state government, colleges, think-tanks etc. I’m on the executive committee for the state Behavioral Healthcare Workforce Development Task-force. One of the proposals discussed was to dismantle the committee. I don’t think it will dismantle, though, but may evolve instead.

Simplified bird’s eye rundown- Reason for dismantling: It hasn’t accomplished anything. Reason to keep it: it hasn’t accomplished anything.

Big problem: people entering the workforce as MSW’s etc. are unprepared for the work asked of them in the community. Turnover is ridiculously high. These things are getting worse. There is a need for people to come together with some vision to change the direction things are going.

This is our current draft mission statement:

Addiction and Mental Health Division (AHM) Behavioral Health Workforce Development (BHWD)

Revised Mission Statement

In order to assure that every Oregonian with a mental or substance use disorder has the necessary support to be in recovery, we must have a behavioral health workforce that is consistently prepared to implement evidence-based practices (EBPs), practices informed by indigenous knowledge and interventions consistent with a multi-faceted definition of recovery.

To realize such a vision we need to create or coordinate with a sustainable entity that brings together consumers and families, executive level personnel from behavioral health preparation sites, recovery agencies and prevention programs, and government institutions, to provide ongoing leadership that promotes integration and alignment of science (EBPs), consumer and family choice, workforce development, cultural appropriateness, and state policy.

To that end, the Behavioral Health Workforce Development (BHWD) Committee will plan and implement strategies to meet the following objectives:

Career Development for People in Recovery

1. Significantly expand the role of individuals in recovery.

2. Design and develop career pathways for people recovering from mental illness and family members.

Professional Development and Retention

1. Service providers and academic settings must work together to stay current with issues in service and be active in exchanging knowledge.

2. Clinicians, clinical supervisors and managers must demonstrate their mastery of competencies related to recovery, staff development and agency administration.

3. Staff retention strategies must be implemented and sustained system wide including clinical supervision, coaching and mentoring.

4. Well-articulated career ladders must be established, articulated and sustained, including management and leadership skills.

Graduate Behavioral Health Workforce Training

Undergraduate, graduate and residency programs will prepare students to practice in contemporary service environments using EBPs (Evidence Based Practices) of consumer choice with the goal of initiating, enhancing and sustaining recovery.

Meanwhile the state is spending a bazillion dollars on 2 new Psych Hospitals- with nothing set aside to implement effective community programs.


Oh, and don’t even get me started on evidence based practice, the catch phrase of the year/ decade (?). It begs the questions: whose evidence? for what exactly? One answer is that the “evidence” is never aimed at discovering how people can lead happy, self-directed lives.

Today’s stupid animated gif:


Maybe one more:


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